Thursday, June 25, 2009

Mouse Vs. Keyboard – 2 peripherals enter, 1 peripheral leaves.


I’ve been trying to get Francois and Steve to try using their mice for turning and movement, instead of just using it to click attacks. Why? I believe it’s far superior to have your right hand control your movement, and you’re already used to using your left hand for typing, why not use it to hit attack spells?

This isn’t something I developed while playing WoW, I’ve used this strategy for Half-life, Counter-Strike (when it was still a mod), Diablo 1, Diablo 2……and basically any computer game I’ve ever had the option of changing the command keys on.

Francois’ first toon is a druid, and having played druids, I concede that you could probably do fine with WASD for movement, and just clicking through your attacks. You might miss an attack, but you really don’t need all that many keys for your attacks.

In contrast is…….every other character class out there. Hunters, Mages, Warlocks, Shamans, Paladins, Warriors, Rogues, Death Knights, and …..Priests. Ok, ok, I haven’t played a Priest past 30, and my highest Druid is 35, but they haven’t racked up enough skills at this point to really NEED the whole keyboard like the other toons do.

It seems like a lot of people fall into 1 of 2 categories.
1) Mouse for looking around, keyboard for movement with the arrow keys, and either clicking attacks or using the number keys.
2) Mouse for looking around, WASD for movement, clicking or using Z,X,C, Alt, Ctrl, and maybe the number keys as well.

I don’t fit into any of that. I use my mouse purely for movement AND looking around (very handy to do 360 spins of the environment on a PvP server), with only the right click button to start auto-attack, and either press both keys to run, or a button on the side of the mouse.

The keyboard is where everything else is. My first toon Bloodshrike is a hunter, and I quickly found my action bars filling up with all the new skills he was learning. And to me, they all seemed pretty useful, so I wanted instant access to most of them, without having to look at them in my action bar, and then click them when needed. I don’t understand how people with chance on hit/dodge/block/parry abilities like Rogues and Warriors can manage to click Riposte, Overpower/Revenge with the narrow window of time that’s offered. I don’t have to look at the action bars during a fight, all my attention is focused on my opponent or mob.

I use A-G for my main attacks, with usually some cast sequence or Alt or Ctrl modified macros thrown in. Space Bar is jump, Z-B are my less used spells, with V and B being my “Oh Shit” or melee hot buttons. Q + W up top are usually my potion keys, or in the case of my Warriors, W is always Charge. I don’t PvP much, even though I’m on PvP servers, but I just figured out that I could have E be Strafe left, and R be Strafe right.
1-6 are the last set of keys that I press.

Since most of my toons are engineers, 1 and 2 are usually bombs or target dummies. 3-5 is up for grabs, or for Warriors, who have 3 different Stance bars, I’ll have 4 set for Shoot, since all Stances can use it. 6 is usually Blink for mages, or the Gnomish Harm Prevention Belt or Nigh-Invulnerability belt for those toons that can wear it. 7 is ALWAYS my mount button. Since I use an ergonomic keyboard, it’s still pretty comfortable for my index finger to hit it. Everything else on my action bars (usually I have 2 stacked above my XP bar, using CTMod) is clickable.

So, in total, I have 20+ keys/spells that are very easy to reach and use, with more being available with Ctrl and Alt modifier macros.
Anal-retentive? Sure. Handy? Very much so. Hmmm, maybe I’ll do a series of posts for what I’m using for each character class, using my highest level of each of those classes.


  1. And when I went to label it, I found I did almost the exact same post back in December.

    Wow, your memory really goes when you get older. :)

    At least this time I'll be expanding it to show how I use it for all character types.

  2. i'm definitely a hybrid of keyboard-ing and mouse-ing.

    when raiding or arena-ing, on the "upstairs good computer" at home - there's every add-on and UI and action bar set-up. and there's a set muscle memory for my left hand to be hitting the ~20-25 abilities. and the mouse, is as you say, only for moving, turning, camera-ing, and targeting.

    for normal play, AH-ing, crafting, or just screwing around on alts, i'm usually downstairs on the "good but not super powered like the upstairs computer, laptop". this way i can afk on flight paths, afk on crafting, etc. and spend time with the wife and son and not have any anti-WoW angst in the house because "you're always upstairs on that damn computer".... when i'm down on the laptop there's many less UI mods and add-ons in general - and defintely a lazier overall approach on my part, including some [gasp] keyboard turning and general clicking with the mouse.

  3. I use the mouse for turning, WASD for movement and the keyboard for spells and skills. Turning with the keyboard is veeeeeery slow but in some cases it is justified.

  4. I have a combination of keyboard, mouse and a Nostromo keypad. The keyboard is used only for typing really. My movement tends to be mouse movement for the most part, but occasionally I find it more useful to be moving with the Nostromo's thumb pad which I have bound to forward, back and strafing left/right. I don't seem to consciously choose which I am using, it just seems to be that for some tasks I move easier with the thumbpad over the mouse.

    Might be my faulty brain that does it mind!

  5. I use the mouse exactly the same way you do Bloodshrike, and I keybind everything else. I’ve never been a clicker, hehe.

  6. ahhhhhhh, the tease of a flurry of posts in a week or two. then doldrums. :(